European Retail Experts: START Testimonials –, Belgium
Publish date: 22.01.2024

Meet Laïos Aurélie, Dehon Nicolas, and Giovannetti Katia, the driving forces at Leading the hub.brussels_Retail team, Laïos and Dehon offer personalized services to bolster retail businesses, from strategic positioning to post-opening support. Meanwhile, Giovannetti heads hub.brussels_Exports, guiding businesses through international expansion with tailored support, essential tools, and Export Accelerator programs. Together, they epitomize’ dedication to empowering businesses locally and globally.

1. Please tell us more about the pathway of – Business Unit Retail and Business Unit Export

Laïos Aurélie and Dehon Nicolas for hub.brussels_Retail: Our focus is on providing personalized services to boost retail businesses. Our dedicated team offers support in various aspects, including positioning commercial projects, identifying suitable neighborhoods, verifying commercial spaces, offering personalised coaching and connecting businesses with key economic players in the region. We also assist in the development and implementation of communication strategies and post-opening support.

Giovannetti Katia for hub.brussels_Exports: The Export team is dedicated to supporting businesses in their internationalization journey. We offer individual, tailor-made support, provide essential tools and information, organize international fairs and missions abroad, and host events and networking sessions in Brussels. Our Export Accelerator program aims to train and equip Brussels new exporters through collective training sessions, individual coaching, and professional meetings to implement their business strategy targeting foreign markets.

2. What is the greatest success hub.brussels_Retail and hub.brussels_Exports has achieved so far in your field of competence?

Laïos Aurélie and Dehon Nicolas for hub.brussels_Retail: One of our significant achievements in the retail sector is the successful implementation of personalized commerce incubators for retail businesses and horeca resulting in total of two active food incubators and four retail incubators with one specialized for handcraft. This has resulted in improved positioning, effective neighborhood selection, and enhanced sales strategies for numerous retail entrepreneurs. Those incubators are called Auberge Espagnole & Kokotte

Giovanetti Katia for hub.brussels_Exports: In the field of exports, our greatest success lies in the annual Export Accelerator program. It brings a unique added value to the internationalization training landscape for SMEs. Its focus on collective training sessions, individual coaching, and professional meetings creates a comprehensive and hands-on approach. The program’s 18-month duration, including close support and follow-up, distinguishes it from existing training materials by providing sustained and personalized assistance to SMEs venturing into international markets. This program has proven to be instrumental in training and equipping Brussels exporters, making them ready to enter and succeed in international markets.

3. What do you see as an added value of project START in relation to the existing training material for the internationalization of SMEs?

All: Project START’s eLearning platform, featuring seven courses, consolidates SMEs internationalization training. It equips retailers across Europe with crucial skills in areas like market trends, e-commerce, and legal frameworks. The unique value lies in its interactive format, offering a social forum for networking and shared insights. This dynamic approach aims to impact European retail SMEs, fostering exploration of new markets and leveraging e-commerce expansion. The collaborative platform enhances collective knowledge and awareness within the community.

4. In what way do you think the collaboration between project START and (Business Unit Retail and Business Unit Export) can benefit in the present and in the future?

All: The collaboration between project START and’retail and export teams holds great potential for mutual benefit. Project START’s structured training approach can complement our existing programs by offering participants a well-rounded understanding of internationalization strategies and retail business development. The collaboration can lead to shared insights, expanded networks, and a more robust support system for SMEs aiming to grow both domestically and internationally. In the future, this partnership can contribute to fostering a thriving business ecosystem in Brussels.

Laïos, Aurélie

Dehon, Nicolas

Giovannetti, Katia

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